Tips for Communicating About Your COPD Diagnosis
It began with your inner circle, those closest to you, and it has slowly been spreading outward to good friends and acquaintances. Communicating about your COPD diagnosis and knowing how to respond to the numerous questions that arise about it can be uncomfortable – for you personally, and also for those you’re speaking with as well.
Surprisingly, you might find that the biggest challenges come in speaking with your primary caregiving partner – the person who is closest to you personally. The caregiver/care receiver relationship can raise a number of emotions. The individual on the receiving end of care may feel insecure and self-conscious as a result of needing assistance, that may lead to feelings of anger and frustration just to name a few. The care provider may feel incapable of meeting all of the required needs, regretful for mistakes made, and downright fatigued from attempting to manage someone else’s care needs with their own.
How can you improve communication with your caregiving partner? These tips are a great place to start:
- Make sure you’re both completely educated about COPD, the corresponding symptoms and treatment plans, and its typical progression. The doctor will have information for both of you to more accurately understand what you’re facing.
- Don’t beat around the bush. Clearly and honestly share your feelings and needs.
- Listen to the other person – and let them know they are being heard. Maintain eye contact, and nod or use other nonverbal cues to show you are paying attention.
- Be assertive without being controlling. Your emotions are valid and deserve to be discussed in a constructive way without lashing out at the other individual.
- Refrain from using argumentative phrases and words, for example, “You always…” or “You never…” . The individual is likely to become defensive and hurt feelings will intensify.
- Remember that no one is a mind-reader. If you’re assuming your care partner knows what you are thinking or how you are feeling merely by your actions, it opens the door to misinterpretation.
- Maintain empathy and respect for one another. Both of you are facing uncharted territory and evolving challenges, and will both make mistakes. A little grace will go a long way.
It is also smart to call a time-out if emotions begin to escalate. Take a break from each other and concentrate on calming activities, such as listening to music, reading, exercising, or writing in a journal. When you both feel calmer, try the conversation again.
At Hired Hands Homecare, we understand the stress that can arise when battling a chronic health condition like COPD, and we’re available to help. Our caregivers make great companions to talk with and spend time engaging in pleasant activities together. We work with family caregivers to make certain they have time required for self-care, while enhancing the lives of the older adults for whom they care.